Not too long ago, my agent rang me up with a job offer. It was to write the novelisation of some small-time British/Indian film that was heading straight to DVD. A fairly straightforward assignment, so I said 'yes' to it right away. The payments on my yacht were falling behind and I'd kinda fallen in with this gambling ring, so I needed a paycheck to keep the nosy debt collectors at bay for a few months at least.
I got my agent to give me the gist of it, you know, send over some screenshots, a trailer. It gave me a feel for the characters and what this movie was about. This wasn't a film anyone was going to see and I doubt anyone has even bothered picking it up even out of curiosity at their local Blockbuster yet. I hammered out a pretty serviceable novelisation that stayed true to what I think was the story of the original film. But the problem is no one's bought the book. Given that no one has seen the movie, pretty much no one would bother buying the novelisation.
So, in order to drum up a bit of publicity I thought I'd post a few excerpts from it here on ZU.
Agent Slumdog pressed his back to the wall of one of the thousands of homes that made up this portion of Mumbai. He quickly wiped the sweat off his brow before gripping his handgun tightly and peering around the corner. He could see his adversary slowly approaching, taking in the surrounds, checking every nook and cranny for the Central Investigation Bureau agent. Slumdog took two deep breaths before leaping across the narrow laneway, firing wildly as he flew through the air, before landing in a somersault roll safely out of the way on the other side of thoroughfare. The bullets had missed their target. Luckily, they had misssed the rapidly fleeing populace as well. The now unusually deserted street played host only to the slowly advancing footsteps of the adversary.
“So there you are, Slumdog,” he said. “Just like when we met in New Delhi. Only this time, you don't have your super rocket boat to help you.”
Slumdog called out, “I have something better this time.”
The adversary chuckled then rounded the corner, lifting his gun, aiming it straight at the rookie agent, “What is it this time, Slumdog? A jet pack?”
Suddenly, a figure leapt off the roof directly above them. The man landed heavily on the adversary, knocking the weapon from his hand. The adversary had been knocked out cold.
“He's got a partner,” said the figure.
“You took your time, Millionaire,” said Slumdog.
“It's good for the tension, the suspense, y'know?” replied Millionaire, dusting off his immaculate suit.
“I shouldn't always be the one in the hot-seat though.”
“Ahh, Slumdog, you're still sore at me for the Hyderabad thing?”
“If you held on to the rope for just a little longer, we'd already know who the ringleader behind this international cricket fixing organisation is.”
“There was a tunnel coming and the train was going too fast to hang on for any longer. At least we found a clue that lead us here, huh? And besides, I just saved your life. Consider that my pennance.”
Slumdog searched his adversary's pockets. He found a mobile phone. He quickly hit 're-dial' and pressed the phone to his hear. It rang twice before it was answered.
“Hello?” said a voice on the other end.
A familiar voice. A very familiar voice. It couldn't be. Slumdog cancelled the call.
“What is it, friend?” asked Millionaire.
“I know who the ringleader is,” replied a pale Slumdog. “It's my brother. Salim.”
Millionaire too turned pale. The gravity of the situation weighed upon his mind.
“Your brother,” he said.
Slumdog nodded slowly.
“The question now is then,” Millionaire paused. “Do you take the money and run...or do you keep playing?”
A New Assignment
The Chief gestured at the seat in front of his desk, “Please, Millionaire, take a seat.”
Millionaire did as he was told, “How's the family, Chief?”
“Good, good. Amodini's recital went well. And Rajeev is growing into a strong, young man. My wife and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary tomorrow, in fact.”
“Congratulations, sir,” Millionaire flashed his million-dollar smile. “If there's anything my estate can do for you and your family, don't hesitate to ask. As you know, my resources are quite...extensive.”
The Chief chuckled, “No, that's okay. The only thing I need from you is your complete commitment to this agency. And...your complete commitment to your next assignment. Complete commitment to your partner.”
Millionaire balked at this announcement, “Partner?! PARTNER?!”
“You need him for this one, Millionaire,” said The Chief. “He's new, but he's got guts, and he'll keep you from getting killed. He knows his way around the slums.”
“First, you tell me I am to have a partner and now, not only that, you say he's from the slums?!” exclaimed Millionaire. “I refuse. I look out for one man and one man only in the field. I can't be expected to babysit some clueless moron. What would a man – a boy – from the slums know?”
“Millionaire, you aced every exam in school, you have the highest record at everything at this bureau; accuracy, mission success rate, hell, you completed the obstacle course a full minute under the previous record. But your partner. He has experience you don't have. Life experience. The experience to get me the results I need, not just a poster boy for the fellas down at recruitment.”
“The Central Bureau of Investigation is my show, Chief! MY SHOW! I am the star!” Millionaire yelled so loudly that spittle flew off his lip.
“Your show?” The Chief's voice was low and frustrated. “You think because you're a hot-shot that you run this place to your liking? I am your commanding officer. You report to me. You answer to me. You follow my orders. My order is: You will have a partner for this assignment.”
Millionaire slumped in his seat, “What's the assignment?”
“I thought you'd never ask,” said the Chief as he slid a file across the desk. “A cricket fixing ring. Possibly international. People have tried to tell us about their work. They've all wound up dead. Word is that they're increasing their efforts to fix matches for their own profit. Including sabotaging the players. We think there might be an attack planned. Your objective is to find out who the ringleader is and arrest them. The secondary objective is to stop the attack.”
“Understood,” said Millionaire as he flipped through the file. “And...my partner?”
The Chief slid another file across the desk, “Agent Slumdog. Young. Experienced in the impoverished areas of India. Reliable. Not experienced in the bureau's operations. This will be only his second assignment. Look after him and he will look after you. You will meet him in Hyderabad. Suspects will be on-board a train passing through. You will receive more details from Agent Slumdog. Dismissed.”
Millionaire stood up and saluted before walking out of the office.
A partner, he thought, nothing but trouble
The house in front of them was more like a mansion...no, it was a palace. Its gleaming white exterior stood proudly over the well manicured lawn, several luxury cars rested in the driveway and a large exterior fence surrounded the entire complex. Slumdog, hiding behind a nearby bush, took a moment to think of his options. Latika was inside and he had to get her out. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he spied the security booth. A guard was inside, resting his feet on a desk in front of him. The rookie agent fixed his attire as best as possible and then strode confidently toward the guard. The guard groaned as he saw Slumdog approach, how dare someone interrupt the cricket.
“How can I be of service to you, sir?” the guard begrudgingly asked.
“I'm the new cook,” said Slumdog trying his best to keep his voice calm and collected.
The guard sighed, “Just one moment, sir.”
He flipped through a few sheets in front of him. The sheets yielded no answers, so he picked up the phone and quickly spoke with whoever was on the other end. The guard set the receiver down and turned back to Slumdog.
“There is no cooking job,” said the guard. “There is only the dishwasher.”
“Ah, yes, the dishwasher is what I meant, how clumsy of me,” Slumdog managed his most sincerest tone.
The guard sighed once more and pressed the button to open the gate, “Have a nice day, sir.”
Slumdog contained his surprise and walked calmly through the gate and up to the door. He rung the bell and waited a moment before it was answered. A well-dressed man opened the door and gave Slumdog a frustrated glare.
“You were supposed to arrive two hours ago, dishwasher,” said the man. “Get to work.”
“Yes, sir,” replied Slumdog.
He immediately went to the kitchen while the man returned to watching his television. Slumdog began busying himself with dishes while searching for clues. He rummaged through all the draws, looked in the fridge, even in the freezer. He had to check the rest of the house. But how to escape the notice of his supposed employer? He didn't need an answer as he heard footsteps coming down a nearby staircase.
“Is that you Latika?” asked the main in the living room.
“Yes,” came a reply from the staircase.
“Get me something to eat, will you?” he asked, the sound of his voice indicating his eyes did not leave the television.
Latika entered the kitchen. She was shocked to see who was standing before her. Slumdog beamed a brilliant smile. Latika's shock soon turned to panic.
“What are you doing here, Jamal?” she whispered.
“To rescue you, of course,” he said.
“No, Jamal, this is too dangerous, it's too late for me, don't kill yourself too, why are you doing this?” Latika's speech was faster and faster.
“Because I love you,” replied Slumdog.
“So what?” spat Latika.
“I've already lost my partner today,” said Slumdog. “I'm not going to lose you too.”
“I'm sorry, Jamal, I'm sorry you lost your partner,” said Latika. “Don't let yourself be the next casualty. I'm sure you did everything you could to save him but sometime's you can't do anything. Sometime's it's fate.”
“Fate?” Slumdog laughed. “It wasn't fate that set the tiger on to Millionaire, it wasn't fate that pushed the both of them out of that 747 10,000 feet over Kanpur. I could've saved him. I could've done something. I didn't. But I can now. I can save you.”
A small TV sitting on the kitchen countertop softly mumbled in the background. Slumdog bit his lip and looked at his feet. He was not going to leave her here. He couldn't. He looked back up and stared into Latika's eyes. Her flowing, dark hair danced in the gentle breeze coming in through a nearby window.
“I will save you,” said Slumdog resolutely.
Another voice joined them, “No, you won't, dishwasher.”
It was the man of the house standing in the doorway to the kitchen. He had heard the entire exchange. The man looked at the TV. A quiz show was playing.
“Huh, why do people watch such garbage?”
“It's for ESCAPISM,” said Slumdog as he picked up the TV and hurled it at the man.
It struck him hard in the face and sent him hurtling to the ground. Slumdog took Latika by the hand and began to run towards the front door.
“No, wait, Jamal! WAIT!” she screamed. “If I go outside a radius of 50 metres from this man...I'll die! They put a bomb in this bracelet on my arm.”
Slumdog stopped in his tracks. They were almost at the door. The man, bloodied from his encounter with the TV, stumbled towards them.
“Come, Latika, we must lave,” he said. “We'll take the helicopter.”
Latika looked forlornly at Slumdog before following the man up the stairs presumably to a helicopter waiting on the roof.
Slumdog fell to his knees, “I never thought I'd say this...Millionaire...I can't do this without you.,” he threw his head up towards the heavens, “MILLLLLIIIOONAAAAAIIIIIRRREEEE!!”
Suddenly a nearby wall collapsed in spectacular fashion and zooming through it was one of the sports cars that had been parked in the driveway. It screeched to a halt in the living room. Slumdog rushed to see the commotion. He couldn't believe it. In the driver's seat. It was...
“MILLIONAIRE!” he cried.
“You called?” Millionaire said.
“But how did you survive?” asked a bewildered Slumdog.
“The tiger broke my fall. Now get in, we have to save that young lady of yours!”
Slumdog jumped in the passenger seat, easily accessible with the car's roof down. Millionaire spun the wheels before the car rocketed forward, hitting the staircase banister hard, causing the car to bounce up awkwardly only to...gain traction on the wall! What a spectacular sight it would have been for the casual observer, a red convertible driving perpindicular to the ground, clinging to the wall and zooming up to the second level of the house. As the top of the stair case neared, Millionaire used his expert driving skills to negotiate the sleek automobile on to the banister once more. The final few feet of the ascent took place on this narrowest of ramp-like structures. Finally, the banister stopped, the car's forward momentum propelled it forward and upward, it crashed amazingly through the ceiling, then the roof, then they were in the open air with the sky above them! The car landed ahead of where they had punched through the roof. At the end of the smooth, concrete surface was a helicopter about to take off. Millionaire didn't stop for one second. He pressed the accelerator as far as it could go. Slumdog and Millionaire poised themselvese. The helicopter was taking off. The car zoomed forward. Zoomed forward towards the end of the roof where the helicopter was beginning to lift off the roof. Closer and closer and closer still. The helicopter was fully off the roof, just more then six feet. It was time. The car passed under the helicopter as Slumdog and Millionaire jumped off! Miraculously they each grabbed on to a skid each! The car zoomed off the roof, slamming into the ground and exploding brilliantly, sending an implausibly huge fireball shooting up to them.
“That's what I call a hot-seat!” shouted Millionaire.
Slumdog Millionaire: The Novelisation is available at all good book retailers
Re: [Com] Slumdog Millionaire: The Novelisation (T)
KYLE WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE.
Dude, this is one of the most ridiculously hilarious things I've read since that series you used to write about... I forget what it's called, was something to do with Spleen?? But, yeah, obscenely funny that I scared my kitten while choking on my yoghurt, reading this. I hope you're proud of yourself.